Readers Respond

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Letters to the Pilot

'Most wanted' a case of racial profiling?


The Pilot Tribune (12/28) reported how the Storm Lake PoIice Department's new "most wanted" web page is generating action - people see the mugs and call in tips that get people arrested, apparently. So I went there to check it out - to see who the "usual suspects" are. It seems they are all Hispanic - with families that could be a "who's who" in Mexican political dynasties: "Flores, Garza, Torres, Mendoza, Villarreal, Reyes". Not one "gringo" name in the bunch. Sure - there was a real sketchy "cornposite" sketch of a guy in a baseball cap, that could be White, Hispanic, or maybe it was "ET", the "alien" that tried to phone home."

Most of the alleged "crimes" were for so-called "drug crimes" which seem to get the police dander up right pronto around here -even if it is just some seeds or stems left over from a joint that morphs into "drug residue" - or a "99 cent special" small pipe for a little herb that becomes "drug paraphernalia...''

Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that methamphetamines are dangerous and killers - and meth labs must be wiped out-to save our children from this scourge.

However, when police get to lump all "drug crimes" together in one big armorphous category... that stops any logical prioritization as to the best use of law enforcement efforts...

Why do the police think they can get away with ONLY parading the Hispanics in the bunch by splashing only the immigrants all over the page? Aren't there ANY crimes being committed by White guys around here (or girls, to be totally fair.) Or is this prima facia proof that there is obtuse racial profiling going on in the City Beautiful? Does this mean only Hispanics are singled out for prosecution?

Now, really, I, a White guy, have had some four charges filed against me by the previous county attorney, after I told police it was "inhumane" that they wouldn't let a Hispanic boy put a coat on in 19 degree weather, but even I didn't get on "Storm Lake's Most Wanted" list at all!

And what happened when I advised the ACLU (they are supposed to be interested in the civil liberties of Americans) about this case? No "casa", they say or something like it. You see, the ACLU is ONLY interested in the rights of White Guys - like the Ku Klux Klan, or so it seems - they sure came out kicking for the KKK ast sumrner, didn't they?

- Paul Peterson, Storm Lake